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Because Charlie Chaplin said it best: “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up but a comedy in long-shot.”

By OZY Editors

It’s open mic all the time at OZY, and we’ve been laughing the whole way. Who doesn’t need a healthy dose of smart, punchy comedy to roll into the weekend a little early?

Ali G is Back in February

Booyakasha. We missed him too. Before Hollywood and the paparazzi, before the statuesque wife and the “richest men in Britain” lists, Sacha Baron Cohen made his name as Ali G. And he was brilliant. He’s returning to his roots this winter as nascent American TV network FXX announced a deal for Ali G: Rezurection, airing old episodes with new introductions by Baron Cohen, plus episodes never before seen in the U.S. The mayhem kicks off in February.

Start Laughing, and Stop Saving Africa

South Park meet foreign aid. Though she’s British, Jane Bussmann has lived in Kenya for the past few years — and has been a prominent, if thoroughly unconventional, aid critic for longer. Her book, The Worst Date Ever, Or How It Took a Comedy Writer to Expose Africa’s Secret War, describes how she set off to woo a hunky American human rights activist, was dissed, and more or less stumbled into an investigation of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Africa. Bussmann, by the way, calls it the “poverty industry,” a take that’s less controversial in aid-dependent countries than in rich ones. After all, saving suffering Africans is a winning pitch. Refugees are “cash cows, useful, a currency” that governments and agencies “deliberately create” to plump their coffers and extend their careers. Not a subversive notion in, say, the Great Lakes region of Africa, but it can shock her first-world audiences.

Too Soon?

In the wake of a major disaster, it takes people about one month before we can crack jokes about something pretty devastating. Researchers studied participants’ reactions to blasts from a joke Hurricane Sandy account. Pre-storm, the tweets were funniest. During the fiercest part of the storm, people laughed considerably less. But roughly four weeks later, the jokes were back to being about as funny as they were in the lead-up to the storm — until no one was laughing at all, approximately 100 days after the disaster.

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